Science Inventory

Rainwater collection and management from roofs at the Edison Environmental Center


OConnor, T. AND M. Amin. Rainwater collection and management from roofs at the Edison Environmental Center. Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), New York, NY, 1(1):04014001, (2015).


The EPA’s Edison Environmental Center (EEC) is located in Edison, New Jersey. The EEC stands on the ground of the former Raritan Arsenal which historically was a much lager facility, approximately 1,300 ha (3,200 acres) (USACE, 2013b), stretching along the northern banks of the Raritan River. The arsenal was closed in 1961. U.S. General Services Administration took over the facility and sold 960 ha (2,360 acres) in 1964 (part of which is now a light industrial park and Middlesex Community College) while retaining approximately 200 acres (USACE, 2013a). This 200 acres was turned over to EPA after the establishment of EPA on December 4, 1970 (EPA, 2013). Many of the remaining buildings of the Raritan Arsenal at the EEC have been modified to serve as offices, storage and laboratories for the EPA. The EPA, as are all federal agencies, is under a presidential Executive Order (EO) (no. 13148, "Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management" issued 4/21/2000) to improve environmental performance. This EO has subsequently been updated by EO 13514, ensuring that environmental management systems (EMS) are incorporated into all Federal Agencies strategic goals of through 2015. As a federal facility, the EEC is also subject to the “Storm water runoff requirements for federal development projects” according to Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) (EPA, 2009a). The intention of this section of the act “is to preserve or restore the hydrology of the site” during development or redevelopment because developed watersheds with increases to impervious surface area, i.e. roads and buildings, alter hydrology of the watersheds due to peak runoff rates resulting in degraded aquatic ecosystems.


In the past, the EPA’s Edison Environmental Center, a 200 acre federal run facility, directed all rainwater from roofed areas to the existing stormwater conveyance system. Over the last several years, modifications have been made to the practice of discharging stormwater to the existing conveyance system due to federal mandates. Roof runoff from approximately 0.28 ha (0.69 acres) has been directed to rain gardens to infiltrate into the ground while rainfall from another 0.14 ha (0.34 acres) is being captured and used for non-potable purposes. This paper discusses the water quality of the roof runoff directed to the rain gardens and the reductions in usage of potable water due to a rainwater capture system. Approximately 3.6 x 106 L (9.0 x 105 gal) of rainwater is being diverted from the existing stormwater sewer system annually.

Record Details:

Product Published Date:02/09/2015
Record Last Revised:01/20/2015
OMB Category:Other
Record ID: 304650